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Officials investigate big explosion that leveled Riverside home

September 07, 2013|By A Times Staff Writer
  • A Riverside firefighter wraps up fire hose after working to put out fire at the remains of a home that exploded early Friday morning in Riverside.
A Riverside firefighter wraps up fire hose after working to put out fire… (Kurt Miller / Associated…)

Authorities are continuing to investigate a huge explosion in Riverside on Friday that leveled one house and damaged adjacent homes.

Officials said they have not firmly determined a cause, but believe it to be accidental.

Just before 4:20 a.m., the home in the 4100 block of Ivanpah Place exploded when natural gas inside the home ignited, Vanderhorst said. The house had been vacant for the last month while it underwent renovations.

The blast was so massive that all that was left of the home was a flattened pile of wood and rubble, and a geyser of flames blasting from the natural gas line, television news footage showed. There were no reported injuries.

Riverside Fire Department Capt. Bruce Vanderhorst said an early morning call came in "as a resident that said 'I think the house blew up next door.'"

Vanderhorst said he’s never responded to an incident like it before. The scene, he added, initially left crews speechless.

“There’s no way to really describe this one,” Vanderhorst said one firefighter told him.

"All I know is it sounded like a trash truck dropped from a helicopter," resident Gary Wolfenberger told NBC-Los Angeles.

The blast caused structural damage to the home to the west. And the attic of the home to the east of the blast caught fire, Vanderhorst said.

Wayne Keller was in the home to the east, sleeping, when the house blew up.

“It was mayhem; you could hear the gas line going like crazy,” he told KABC.  He described his home as “uninhabitable” after the blast.

Keller said the owners of the next-door property were preparing to rent it out.


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